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New Neal Stephenson: Reamde

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New Neal Stephenson: Reamde

Old 09-27-11, 08:52 AM
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New Neal Stephenson: Reamde

Anyone else reading this?

His last book "Anathem" became a bit of an obsession to me, so I was really looking forward to this one. Early reviews are extremely positive.

I'm about 80 pages into the (typically Stephenson) 1,000 page monster, so I can't really comment. I can say that at the outset it's very readable and much more approachable than some of his other stuff. This book is very different than "Anathem", a book in which Stephenson was trying to tackle Tolkien-like world building of incredible complexity. Like his earlier "Cryptonomicon", it's not really sci-fi or spec-fic at all, it's a straight-up thriller set in the present day. If you're new to Stephenson, this might be a good place to start.
Old 10-02-11, 04:51 PM
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Re: New Neal Stephenson: Reamde

Number one on the bestseller list for the last couple of weeks.
Old 10-02-11, 07:38 PM
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Re: New Neal Stephenson: Reamde

I may give it a try.

I enjoyed Cryptonomicon but almost gave up because I thought it started slow and confusing.

Never read the Baroque Cycle or Anathem. Do you need to read the trilogy before Anathem? Or is it stand alone but related?
Old 10-03-11, 05:48 AM
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Re: New Neal Stephenson: Reamde

Anathem has nothing to do with the Baroque Cycle.
Old 10-03-11, 01:00 PM
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Re: New Neal Stephenson: Reamde

Originally Posted by mewmartigan
I may give it a try.

I enjoyed Cryptonomicon but almost gave up because I thought it started slow and confusing.

Never read the Baroque Cycle or Anathem. Do you need to read the trilogy before Anathem? Or is it stand alone but related?
The Baroque Cycle and Anathem are completely unrelated.

He's easily my favorite author, but I'll readily admit that Stephenson is not an author for everyone. His books generally require some patience and a good deal of investment from a reader. He's not afraid to "jump cut" a plot line and drop the reader into a situation where nothing is explained and the reader is forced to slowly gather what's happened, who everyone is and why they're all there. He also characteristically weaves several complex plotlines together and requires the reader to remember where each character is. He's not afraid of lengthy (20+ pages at times) diversions from the plot to explain complex concepts, engage in a little world building or simply talk about the best way to eat Cap'n Crunch. Either you like all of this and get more deeply drawn in or you get lost in the knotty prose and give up.

On the other hand, his most challenging stuff is generally his most rewarding in the long run as well. Cryptonomicon and Anathem are his two best if you ask me, but they're certainly not his most approachable books. In terms of where someone new to Stephenson should start, I'd rate the books this way:
1. Snow Crash - hard sci-fi classic about viruses or all types. Very famous and influential book.
2. Reamde - current book
3. The Diamond Age - hard sci-fi about nanotechnology with steampunk overtones.
4. Cryptonomicon - modern-day technothriller / WW2 story. Not sci-fi at all, but complex and prone to diversion
5. Anathem - dense, complex speculative sci-fi with a hefty dose of Tolkein-style world building. Some fairly nerdy stuff.
6. Baroque Cycle - almost impenitrable multi-volume tome about the early Age of Enlightenment, Isaac Newton, Leibniz and the foundation of the modern economy.

The new one isn't sci-fi at all, it's a techno thriller with a fairly straight-forward linear plot and relatively, easy to define few characters. Also, it's set in the present day. It's basically chase scenes, gun battles and spycraft. It's more like a Tom Clancy book (but far, far better written). Stephenson has said he was influenced by Alastair McLean in writing this one and I think it shows. This would be a great one to start with if you've never read any Stephenson.
Old 10-03-11, 01:48 PM
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Re: New Neal Stephenson: Reamde

Thanks!

I've always wanted to read Snow Crash but just kept putting it off.
Old 11-20-11, 10:48 PM
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Re: New Neal Stephenson: Reamde

So what did you think of this one, Hiro? I was in B&N today thinking to myself "I wonder when Stephenson will put out a new book" then I spotted it behind the checkout counter and was floored I'd missed it. I'll probably try to go in knowing nothing about the subject but I'm curious what you thought because I know we're both big Stephenson fans.
Old 11-21-11, 08:10 PM
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Re: New Neal Stephenson: Reamde

I might check this one out based on Hiro's description. I read Snow Crash many years ago and enjoyed it but I found Cryptonomicon a bit of a bloated mess. I listened to The Diamond Age on audiobook and it was OK (excellent reader though).
Old 11-29-11, 05:02 PM
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Re: New Neal Stephenson: Reamde

Originally Posted by Mordred
So what did you think of this one, Hiro? I was in B&N today thinking to myself "I wonder when Stephenson will put out a new book" then I spotted it behind the checkout counter and was floored I'd missed it. I'll probably try to go in knowing nothing about the subject but I'm curious what you thought because I know we're both big Stephenson fans.
Just noticed this, sorry.

I finished this several months ago. I couldn't really put it down, in fact. It's a much more straight-forward book certainly than something like Anathem. Plot-wise, it's a techno-thriller wbut several rungs up the literary ladder from typical stuff. The characters are fleshed out well and Stephenson seems to finally have gotten the hang of writing women. Overall, I really enjoyed it. In particular, the last three hundred pages of this book are rocket-fuel... it's relentless. It loses a bit of the fractal, world-creating density and memorable impact of some of his more "involved" stuff but makes up for it with clarity and narrative drive.
Old 12-01-11, 11:14 AM
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Re: New Neal Stephenson: Reamde

Thanks. I put it on my Christmas list. One question for you though. Does Enoch Root make an appearance? Might want to spoiler the answer.

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